Chinese sign petitions asking Trump’s apology for irresponsible COVID-19 tweet

By Sun Haoran Source:Global Times Published: 2020/3/18 23:07:17

US President Donald Trump standing with members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force team, speaks during a press briefing in the press briefing room of the White House on Sunday in Washington, DC. Photo: AFP JIM WATSON / AFP

More than 120,800 people have signed petitions asking US President Donald Trump to apologize for calling COVID-19 "the Chinese Virus" in a tweet and condemning his behavior, with an expert noting that his move could be seen as political, showing how irresponsible Trump is as a leader.

An internet user called Y.L. Monday created a petition titled "President Trump owes all Chinese an apology for naming COVID-19 'the Chinese Virus' in his latest tweet" on We the People, a section of the official website of the White House, which is used for petitioning the administration's policy experts, after Trump wrote the controversial tweet on Monday.

The petition says Trump "owes all Chinese an apology for naming COVID-19 'the Chinese Virus' in his tweet, especially under the circumstances where the origin of COVID-19 are not scientifically definite yet. Not only is his twitter defiance against science, but also causes anger among Chinese and other races."

"Trump has shown us what is called shameless," a netizen with the user name of Shang Di Zhi Ying_5zn, who signed the petition, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

"I want to let the US government see the attitude and unity of the Chinese people. China has made great sacrifices and contributions in the fight against the pandemic, and we never tolerate unreasonable accusations and slander," said the netizen, who preferred not to use his real name.

He noted that although some foreign media reports have tried their best to cover up and distort the facts, he believes that people from all over the world will eventually see the truth. 

According to We the People, a petition needs to gather 100,000 signatures in 30 days in order to get an official response from the White House.

As of Wednesday, the appeal still needs about 55,700 signatures by April 15 to reach the goal.

Besides the one created on We the People, another petition called "We demand Donald Trump apologize to the Chinese for being racist" was initiated by a user named Michelle Huang on, another petition website. About 76,400 users had signed the petition as of Wednesday, but the website doesn't specify whether there will be a response from the US government if the signatures reach a certain amount.

"It is necessary to launch these petitions, which can be seen as part of public diplomacy," Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations of the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Li said that the move can let the American people understand the Chinese people's perspective on this matter, and show them how unacceptable and irresponsible their president's comments are.

"Trump stigmatizing China is based on his own political considerations, by using China as a scapegoat to divert domestic attention away from his inadequate preparation and late response in the early stages of the pandemic so as to boost his 2020 presidential election campaign," Li said.

US media reported that Trump rated his performance in fighting the coronavirus crisis at 10 out of 10, regardless of mounting criticism. Trump earlier compared the coronavirus with flu in a tweet, over which Al Jazeera reported that the president "has been accused of attempting to downplay the seriousness of the disease…"

"China should vigorously fight back, but at the same time needs to be calm and understand how American political elections work," Li said, adding that the most important thing for China now is to combat COVID-19, and that rumors and slander will naturally be proven wrong if China succeeds in this crisis.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said on Tuesday that China is strongly indignant at and firmly opposes US stigmatization, and urges the US to correct its mistakes and stop making groundless accusations against China, according to Xinhua News agency.


blog comments powered by Disqus